The National Institute of Health reports that motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of eye injuries. Approximately 9,000 eye injuries occur annually due to car accidents. Eye injuries can be incredibly painful and leave drivers with temporary or permanent vision loss.
Factors that can cause eye injuries during a crash include:
- Airbag deployment.
- Sudden changes in velocity.
- Contact with glass, metal, and other objects.
The following are common eye injuries that are seen in car accidents.
Eyelid cuts or lacerations occur due to contact with sharp metal and glass. These injuries should be assessed carefully to rule out damage to the oculus. While stitches may be necessary to repair the damaged tissue, care must be taken to prevent them from scratching and damaging the cornea.
The cornea is the clear, protective area located at the front of your eye. When it comes in contact with dust, dirt, or particles of sand, glass, or metal, the cornea can be scratched. A corneal abrasion can cause pain, redness, irritation, and sensitivity to light. This type of injury should be treated quickly because it can lead to infection and further damage to the eye.
Hyphema happens when blood enters the anterior chamber of the eye. This injury presents as blood on the surface of the eyeball. Trauma is the most common cause of hyphema. Because hyphema often indicates a more serious underlying injury to the vascular and intraocular tissues, you should see a health care provider as soon as possible if you notice blood or redness in your eye.
Some airbags lead to chemical irritation, or chemical keratitis, of the cornea when they deploy. That is because airbags contain two chemicals that allow them to inflate and deploy quickly during a collision. Sodium hydroxide specifically has been shown to cause chemical burns to the eyes and face when released into the air upon deployment.
Globe rupture occurs when the outer membranes of the eye are disrupted or damaged by blunt trauma or a penetrating object like shards of glass or metal. Globe rupture is a serious, vision-threatening emergency that requires immediate medical attention. Surgical intervention is usually required to repair the wound and prevent vision loss.
Orbital fractures involve breaks in one or more of the bones that surround the eyeball. They are common in car accidents where the passenger collides with another person or object. There are three types of orbital fractures:
- Blowout fracture: Break of the outer floor or wall of the eye socket, typically caused by a forceful blow to the eye with a fist, ball, or other object.
- Orbital floor fracture: Blow to the rim of the eye socket that pushes the bones inward and downward.
- Orbital rim fracture: Common in car accidents, impacts the thick bone of the outer ridges of the eye socket.
Surgery helps to repair the damaged tissue and implants can be used to rebuild the orbital wall.
Retinal detachment occurs when the retina, a thin layer of tissue at the back of the eye, separates from its normal position. When the retina detaches, it separates the retinal cells from the blood vessels that supply oxygen and nourishment. The longer this injury goes untreated, the greater the chance of permanent vision loss in the damaged eye.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Some eye injuries are related to traumatic brain injury (TBI). If the part of the brain that controls perception and/or visual processing is injured by disease or a blow to the head, vision can be affected. Studies suggest up to 50 percent of individuals who experience a TBI also experience vision problems, including vision loss, blurred vision, and vertigo.
While this list of eye injuries resulting from car accidents is far from exhaustive, it includes some of the most common conditions you need to be aware of if you suffer any trauma to the eye.
What Are Symptoms of Eye Trauma?
Your vision is precious. Signs and symptoms that suggest eye damage or disease should never be taken lightly. Always see a health care provider at the first sign of an eye injury to prevent further damage and possibly preserve your vision.
Symptoms of an eye injury include:
- Blurred vision.
- Obvious foreign object in eye.
- Sensitivity to light.
What Should I Do if I Have a Car Accident-Related Eye Injury?
If you are involved in a car accident and notice immediate damage to the eyes, remember these tips to avoid making the injury worse.
First, do not ever attempt to remove an object embedded in your eye or an object that makes it difficult to close your eyelid. Try not to rub your injured eye or touch it with cotton balls, tweezers, and other objects.
What To Do After a Corneal Abrasion?
For a corneal abrasion, one of the most common eye injuries that occur in car accidents, rinse your eye with clean water or a saline solution. Blink repeatedly to remove small particles from your eye. Pull the upper eyelid down over the lower eyelid to encourage tearing that helps wash away debris.
Emergency eye injuries require immediate medical care. For other injuries, you can make an appointment with a specialist as soon as possible. Delays are not recommended when your vision is at stake.
Damages for a Car Accident Eye Injury
Eye injuries can possibly be long-term or even lifelong. When a person suffers the loss of an eye or substantial vision loss, a lawyer can seek compensation for them. For example, someone with limited vision who can no longer work would seek compensation for the loss of past and future income. Compensation in a personal injury claim should reflect all of ways an eye injury has impacted the person’s health, well-being, and ability to earn income.
If you are living with a painful or debilitating eye injury due to an accident caused by another person, medical treatment should be your first priority. Hiring a skilled lawyer who focuses their practice on assisting injured clients should be your next step.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Represent Clients With Serious Eye Injuries
An eye injury can have a severe and lasting impact on a person’s quality of life. Vision loss can impact a person’s ability to work, care for their family, and enjoy the activities and hobbies that were a part of their life before the accident. Our Philadelphia car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC can help you if you have a car accident-related eye injury. Contact us online or call us at 215-569-8488 to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Abington, Media, Pennsylvania, as well as Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.